Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tooth and Nail

What’s the fascination we Americans have with teeth?

They need to be blindingly white and perfectly straight to be accepted in today's society.


Is it a health issue?

The reason I ask is because I did some figuring. The money I have spent/will spend on straightening my sons’ teeth would purchase a new car. …A fekkin’ nice new car.

I don’t begrudge my children dental hygiene and dazzling smiles, but why do I feel it so necessary?

It’s because I do what I’m told and the media tells me that if I ever hope to have my sons marry and become successful they have to have perfect teeth.

I never went to a dentist as a child. Not once. I was pregnant with Big the first time I darkened the door. Prissy didn’t believe in dentists. She feared them and wouldn’t hear of us going unless we were in pain. Therefore we brushed like maniacs twice a day.

I was fortunate. My first visit to the dentist I was told I had the mouth of a twelve year old. (I’m still not sure what he meant by that.) A few fillings and a root scaling was all that was required.

I guess that started me down the wayward path. By God, my kids would visit the dentist regularly. …and they do. We all do.

But the orthodontist is a different animal. I understand that there are times when orthodontia is needed for more than just cosmetic reasons. And some people’s teeth are so bad that it causes issues in their communication and health. But has anyone ever died because their teeth were crooked?

When I took Big for his first evaluation, I had one done also. I’ve always been a little self-conscious about my mouth. I have some crowding on the bottom, but the real problem is my ability to eat corn through a picket fence. Both of my sons have inherited this unfortunate affliction as well.

I also hate having my picture taken. Not because I’m unattractive. I happen to be devastatingly beautiful. (You should see me.) But because when I smile, all you see is my upper gums. This tragedy marred my face and destroyed my budding modeling career. (Was it that or my fat ass? …I forget.)

I was told my jaw would have to be broken and reset and then braces for three years. I decided at that point that my family would probably need to eat a few times over the next few years, so financially this probably wasn’t in my best interest. That and why would anyone have their jaw broken on purpose?

Big is out of his braces. He gets his wisdom teeth cut out Friday-as to not ruin the orthodontia. Little will get his braces, fingers crossed and enough extra hours at the 2nd job, this summer.

So, I’m doing as I’m told. I want to assure my sons grown up to marry fashion models, become presidents of successful dot com companies, and vacation in Tuscany.

…I am nothing if not obedient.


Bou said...

Not everyone 'needs' braces that gets them. For instance, my eldest has them now, and I do suspect it is more cosmetic than 'need'. I don't know for sure.

I will say, that crooked teeth and a bad bite will create problems later on. Gum disease being one... and once you lose one tooth, unless you get a crown or an implant, the loss continues. The teeth on either side will cave to fill the gap where the tooth was, its mate on top will get loose as well, and its a downward spiral.

The statistics on how many Americans are missing teeth is actually really really high... something like 80-90%? That excludes folks like your son who are having wisdom teeth extracted and folks like me, that had teeth extracted for braces. (That's old fashioned... good orthodontists don't remove the standard four teeth anymore... unless there are REAL issues.)

Anyway, as we age, the crowding and crooked teeth cause more and more problems. Nobody has really died from it, although there is a direct link to the bacteria that causes gum disease and heart disease/strokes, but nobody dies from crooked teeth. ;-)

I am like you... I do what I'm told. For my eldest, although I suspect it is cosmetic, there is the whole 'appearance' during job interviews and first impressions and... self esteem.

Long answer. :( Sorry. There are reasons I know this stuff that don't get blogged upon.

Sugar Britches said...

It's even fashionable now, isn't it? I know some kids that want braces and don't need them. It's a status thing.
...on that note, what's the deal with grills? That I don't get.

Bou said...

Yeah, I think its fashionable. My son gets pink bands now. He says, "Pink is tough". Great.

We don't get the grill thing. A good dentist will not do them. Destroying a kids' dentition like that is just damn near criminal. But some folks will do anything for money.

BTW, sorry about the last answer. :( I reread it and I just sounded so serious! Gah! You are right... nobody ever died from crooked teeth! Its not like the heart. For sure. ;-)

Sugar Britches said...

Feel free, dear bou, to comment freely on my blog.

I try never to judge, lest I be judged.

I have found in you a kindred spirit, I feel.

...mother of boys and all.